If you’re new to selling on Amazon, the company’s persnickety requirements can be overwhelming. If you’ve used other platforms to sell online, Amazon’s terms can seem overboard. But there’s a good reason they’re the top retail platform on the planet, and its terms are part of the magic.
As part of its system, Amazon assigns unique inventory numbers to every item, called an ASIN. You may wonder what is an ASIN, but simply put, it stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number.
It’s more than just an inventory tracking number that ensures your customers get your product exactly as ordered — it also prevents your competitors from stealing your great ideas.
Read on to find out more about this critical element of becoming a successful Amazon seller.
What is an ASIN
The Amazon ASIN is a 10-digit alphanumeric code that the company assigns to every product it offers. Before expanding in 1998, Amazon used it to track products that were not books. If you’re “of a certain age,” you may remember that, way back in the late 1990s, Amazon started out strictly as an online bookstore.
Books have their own special designators, which we’ll touch on later.
The ASIN on Amazon provides a unique number for tracking inventory. Because the range of Amazon products is constantly growing, the use of an alphanumeric combination (both letters and numbers) provides a wider selection of unique identifiers.
Amazon uses the ASIN to:
- Track products on its website
- Find products in the warehouses
- Track the picking and shipping of products
- Allow customers to find the exact product they desire
If you plan to sell your products on Amazon, you’ll need to have an ASIN for them.
How to Find the ASIN Number for Amazon Products
It’s easy to find the Amazon ASIN for any product on the retail platform if you check the sales page.
If you scroll down any sales page on Amazon, you’ll find a bolded block section called “Product Details.” In this section, you’ll see specifications for the product, as well as shipping terms, average customer review, and sales rank.
Also in this section are the product’s various identification numbers, including the ASIN.
Another way to find a product’s ASIN on Amazon is to look at the sales page URL. This is the link in your address bar. Amazon also uses the ASIN as the sale page address, and you’ll find it after the Amazon URL.
Why You Need an ASIN Amazon Number
To sell your products on Amazon, you’ll need to list them under an ASIN. The surprising thing is that Amazon may already have an ASIN for your product. That’s because there are two types of ASINs when it comes to selling on Amazon — regular ASINs and unique ASINs.
For example, if you find yourself with a crate of a well-known toy to sell, other resellers may have already listed it. In this case, you’ll use the same ASIN for your toys. Amazon will have one product page, even if they have several different suppliers.
On the other hand, if the product you’re selling is completely unique or not yet listed, you’ll get a new ASIN from Amazon.
How to Get an ASIN Number from Amazon.
Before listing your products, you’ll need to know how to get an ASIN number from Amazon. Do your research and take the following steps to reduce delays and avoid seller suspension.
Search for a Regular ASIN
When you’re ready to list, make sure there isn’t already an ASIN for your products. If you only have a handful, you can search the platform manually.
However, if you have a large inventory, you may want to invest in an Amazon ASIN lookup tool to automate the process.
Getting a Unique ASIN
If your product is completely new to the market — or a self-branded product — you’ll need to create a new ASIN. For brand new items, the process is pretty straightforward.
Just add your product from the seller dashboard, and Amazon will assign it with a unique ASIN. Keep in mind that others with the same product will use the same identifier.
To add new products, you’ll need a Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN. These are internationally standardized ID numbers registered by manufacturers. You’ll find them on the product’s bar code or packaging.
Some GTINs you may already know are:
- UPC (Universal Product Code)
- EAN (European Article Number)
- GTIN-14 (Global Trade Item Number)
Ensure you have this information from the manufacturer.
If you make your own products, you’ll need to register them through GS1-US to get EAN/UPC codes that Amazon will accept.
ASIN vs. ISBN: What’s the Deal?
GTIN numbers apply to products, but what if you’re selling books? Amazon, the original online bookstore, still uses ISBNs for physical books. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and is universally recognized for tracking and storing information about physical books.
If you’re reselling books, you can find the ISBN on the back cover bar code or inside, on the copyright page.
To register an ISBN for a unique physical book you want to publish and sell on Amazon, you’ll need to register with Bowker.
Note, however, that digital books sold for Amazon’s proprietary Kindle program are cataloged with an ASIN, like other products.
Why You Need the ASIN Amazon Assigns
You may think it’s inconvenient to use the ASIN Amazon gives you, especially if you have your own inventory control system. But Amazon offers an advantage for protecting your brand through its ASIN system.
If you’ve worked hard to create a unique product and brand, you’ll want to consider the platform’s brand gating program.
First, see if your product is eligible for the program. You may have to submit a package including trademark or patent information. The benefit is that Amazon will restrict others from selling products with your brand or design, protecting your intellectual property.
Downside for Resellers
Brand gating can cause a few obstacles for resellers. Amazon has already restricted reselling big-name brands, and resellers may have to submit receipts and certificates proving the products are authentic.
Is It Worth the Trouble?
Now that you know what is an ASIN and how it plays a critical role in Amazon selling, you’ve conquered another step to creating a successful eCommerce business.
Recent reports show that Amazon resellers bring in more than 50 percent of the company’s yearly revenue. As many as 86 percent are running in profit, with 67 percent profitable in their first year of selling.
These numbers are both exciting and a bit frightening, but the risk can really pay off if you’re willing to do your homework.
However, as many as 76 percent of sellers are also worried that Amazon will shut them down. The company’s staggering dominance in the eCommerce world can make hiccups in the process terrifying.
So, make sure you have competent representation if you run into any problems by connecting with ESQgo, a law firm that specializes in protecting Amazon sellers.